Samuel Eliot Morison

Samuel Eliot Morison (July 9, 1887 – May 15, 1976) was an American historian noted for his works of maritime history and American history that were both authoritative and popular. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912, and taught history at the university for 40 years. He won Pulitzer Prizes for Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1942), a biography of Christopher Columbus, and John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography (1959). In 1942, he was commissioned to write a history of United States naval operations in World War II, which was published in 15 volumes between 1947 and 1962. Morison wrote the popular Oxford History of the American People (1965), and co-authored the classic textbook The Growth of the American Republic (1930) with Henry Steele Commager.

Morison in 1953 as a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserve


The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War (1963)Edit

  • Admiral Ernest J. King was the Navy's principal architect of victory. A stern sailor of commanding presence, vast sea-knowledge, and keen strategic sense, he was so insistent on maintaining the independence of the Navy, not only from our great Ally but from the Army, that he seemed at times to be anti-British and anti-Army. Neither was true; but King's one mistaken idea was his steady opposition to "mixed groups" from different Navies in the same task force; an idea strengthened by the unfortunate experience of the ABDA command... We may, however, concede to Admiral King a few prejudices, for he was undoubtedly the best naval strategist and organizer in our history. His insistence on limited offensives to keep the Japanese off balance, his successful efforts to provide more and more escorts for convoys, his promotion of the escort carrier antisubmarine groups, his constant backing of General Marshall to produce a firm date for Operation OVERLORD from the reluctant British; his insistence on the dual approach to Japan, are but a few of the many decisions that prove his genius. King's strategy for the defeat of Japan- the Formosa and China Coast approach, rather than the Luzon-Okinawa route- was overruled; but may well, in the long run, have been better than MacArthur's, which was adopted. King was also defeated in his many attempts to interest the Royal Navy in a Southeast Asia comeback; and in this he was right. The liberation of Malaya before the war's end would have spared the British Empire a long battle with local Communists and would have provided at least a more orderly transfer of sovereignty in the Netherlands East Indies.
    • p. 579-580

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